In April 2020, the Sheet Metal Industry Training Board suspended all apprenticeship and specialty training classes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff worked diligently to shift operations to accommodate occupancy limits and physical distancing requirements. This necessitated a reduction of class offerings and the development of online learning modules for students.
Our revised class schedule incorporates a new blended learning model on SMITB issued iPads to support students learning online. The blended model includes theoretical training via remote learning and technical training onsite at the Training Centre. Remote learning and hands-on training are conducted on a rotational schedule in smaller groups. All students are now required to complete a new Mandatory Orientation and COVID-19 Safety Training prior to starting class.
Overall, the learning curve has been steep for both students and staff however everyone persevered and the transition has been successful with our first cohort graduating July 31st.
Well done everyone!
The Training Centre reopened on June 15th adhering to WorkSafeBC COVID-19 safety guidelines and public health orders to ensure a safe work environment for all our staff and students. This included occupancy limits, physical distancing requirements, enhanced cleaning protocols, etc. Our first cohort of Level 4 Sheet Metal apprentices successfully followed COVID-19 safety protocols as they completed technical training safely.
The graduation on July 30th was celebratory with a safety-first mindset maintained at all times. Students donned their masks when receiving their completion certificates. The Training Centre opted for boxed lunches in lieu of the usual buffet lunch. All 24 students and instructors were able to unmask for an outdoor class photo with everyone safely staged six feet apart. Congratulations to all 24 apprentices for passing their Inter-Provincial Exams on July 31st, providing the Sheet Metal Industry with the trained journeys it needs.
On behalf of our Board and staff, we would like to thank the Sheet Metal Level 4 students for their leadership during their apprenticeship training and commitment to our new blended learning model. Great work everyone for diligently following COVID-19 safety protocols and completing your hands-on training at the SMWTCS.
Our Union Trades and Innovation Program (UTIP) project entered its second year of a five-year project. In the first year, new equipment was purchased and UTIP presentations were provided to Board Trustees, 200+ students, 30+ contractors and other industry stakeholders. All were invited to be curious about their role in shaping the future sheet metal industry, by supporting a more diversified workforce trained on new equipment/technology leading to improved skills to succeed in the trades. This spring, UTIP surveys and focus groups were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting operational priorities in the industry. Now that the Training Centre operations has resumed under COVID-19 safety protocols, we will continue with our intended activities online. Watch for invitation to participate in focus groups and surveys this fall!
Sheila working with UTIP funded welding simulator.
Skill Plan has developed an online assessment tool for applicants to the Sheet Metal Industry Training Board.
On behalf of our Trustees and staff at the Sheet Metal Industry Training Board and Training Centre, we wish to extend our thanks to our industry friends for joining us on September 20th for our SMITB/SMWTCS Anniversary Open House. We celebrated the Past, Present and Future of the Sheet Metal Industry Training Board (50 years) and Training Centre (25 years).
Our Passport Through Time activities led attendees through the Past with historical displays, through to Present with shop curriculum and project showcases, and finally to the Future with opportunities to demo new technology and equipment.
It was a great event and well attended! Without your support over the years, we would not be where we are today. Thank YOU!
On November 23, 2019, the Training Centre hosted its Annual Apprentice Contest at its facility. Nineteen contestants representing eleven contractors competed in four levels aligned with their last year of technical training. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors, there were over $7,000 worth of prizes donated to the participants.
SHOP: Participants assembled different projects for each level while spectators watched. Projects showcasing contestant’s precision and skill, ranging from an aluminum hinged ammo-style box, to on-centre and off-centre square, to round fittings and a copper bucket.
THEORY: Mark Curtis from the International union proctored the theory categories and was our guest of honour at the prize awards ceremony. It was a fantastic day on which there were many moments of which to be proud.
NEW EQUIPMENT DEMO: During the contest, SMWTCS instructor Adam Dudarewicz demonstrated the Mobile Elevated Work Platform simulator purchased as part of the Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP). Everyone who tried the simulator was entered for a chance to a prize. We thank those who stop by to experience this new technology. Congratulations to Connor Sové for winning the prize, a Milwaukee packout bag!
Thanks to all the apprentices for participating in 2019 SMWTCS Annual Apprentice Contest:
Level 1: Bramwell Chao (Piedmont Sheet Metal (1997) Ltd.), Galbyn Knell (Keith Panel Systems Co. Ltd.), James Parreno (Boston Sheet Metal Ltd.), Richard Steenhuisen (Pacific Waterproofing Ltd.)
Level 2: Mitchell Beauregard (Boston Sheet Metal Ltd.), Brendan Detta (Apollo Sheet Metal Ltd), Troy Martell (Austin Metal Fabricators LP), Brady Morton (Northwest Sheet Metal Ltd.), Shad Simpson (Viaduct Sheet Metal Works Ltd.), Luke Sutton (Boston Sheet Metal Ltd.), Richard Webster (ECCO Heating Products Ltd.)
Level 3: Tyler Crowder (Summit Sheet Metal Ltd.), Alexander Flaman (Piedmont Sheet Metal (1997) Ltd.), James Plett (Austin Metal Fabricators LP), Josiah Stagg (Viaduct Sheet Metal Works Ltd.), Stanley Suddaby (Austin Metal Fabricators LP), Philip Wong (Summit Sheet Metal Ltd.)
Level 4: Carlos Flores (Northwest Sheet Metal Ltd.), William Scott Wilcox (Spectrum Sheet Metal Ltd.)
The official Launch of our Union Training and Innovation Program (UTIP) took place on September 5th 2019 at the Training Centre. Member of Parliament, Ken Hardie made the announcement on behalf of the Ministry of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
The Sheet Metal Industry Training Board received over $400K in federal cost-sharing funding for this 5-year project. Our Technology and an Inclusive Workforce Project was developed to increase investment in training equipment and materials for higher quality training, leading to a more skilled and productive trade’s workforce.
The project will build strategic partnerships to improve the participation and success of key groups (women, Indigenous People and newcomers to Canada) in trades training and careers.
A Project Evaluation Consultant will develop data collection systems and resources to support the project assessment and reporting. Watch for invitations to participate in an upcoming questionnaire/survey, as well as Focus Groups (Contractors and Sheet Metal Workers).
This award is dedicated to the memory of Alex Donaldson, a Local 280 member committed to apprenticeships and training who passed away in 1980. The apprentice who earns The Top Apprentice is awarded each year. Since the 60’s, the Top Apprentice represents Local 280 and SMACNA-BC at the Canadian Council’s Sheet Metal Apprentice Competition held annually around the country.
The pathway to be selected as the Top Apprentice has changed many times over the decades. Currently the individual winning the Level 4 competition at the SMWTC Annual Apprentice Contest has priority to compete at the Canadian Contest.
Patrick Welch of Viaduct Sheet Metal Works Ltd. was the Level 4 winner of SMWTC Annual Apprentice Contest (Nov 2018), and also competed at the Canadian Contest (May 2019) in Toronto, ON. Patrick and other sheet metal apprentices from different provinces had 8 hours to build a copper replica of one of the city’s most distinctive landmarks — the Toronto City Hall.
Congrats to Patrick Welch as our 2019 winner of the Alex Donaldson Award. He was presented this annual top apprentice award at the SMACNA Christmas Party in November 2019.